Govt launches $1,7m major roads conditions survey

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GOVERNMENT yesterday launched a $1,7 million National Roads Conditions Survey, the second such exercise since 1999, in a bid to improve the state of the country’s roads.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/ MTHANDAZO NYONI

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The exercise, wholly funded by the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara), will run for nine months.

Speaking at the survey launch in Bulawayo, Zinara acting chief executive officer Moses Juma said it was difficult for the authority to timely rehabilitate or maintain the country’s roads in the absence of critical data required to determine the “structural integrity, distresses, skid resistance and overall quality of the road pavement”.

“There have been various figures flying around as the cost of rehabilitation of the country’s total road network. Most of these figures have had no scientific background due to the lack of a National Roads Conditions Survey,” he said.

“Zinara has been making disbursements, but the challenge has been that we have been flying a plane without a radar.”

He added: “We have prescribed the wrong solutions to what we thought could be the problem. Without a National Roads Conditions Survey, it is almost impossible to meaningfully make an impact on our roads. This is why where an intervention that could be a total rehabilitation of a section, you find someone carrying out pothole patching, which is unsustainable as resources are always directed to addressing a symptom than the real issue in the form of periodic maintenance.

“It is this survey that is the right antidote needed to determine the road network rehabilitation requirements and costs required thereof.”

He said the expected outputs of this survey would determine the actual percentage of roads in poor and good condition, and the percentage of drainage or bridges in good or poor condition.

Juma said international financiers for road works wanted credible data of the entire road network, but Zimbabwe was not in a position to provide such “due to lack of an up-to-date road survey”.

Speaking at the same event, Transport minister Joram Gumbo said government needed to undertake the survey regularly for planning purposes, adding this was necessary to boost economic activity.

Zinara board chairman Albert Mugabe said: “Our road maintenance programmes were ad hoc. This national road survey will present us with results from which we will be in a position to systematically attend to maintenance and rehabilitation of our roads. With the results of this survey, we anticipate that we will be in a position to improve our road
network.”

7 COMMENTS

  1. If the roads dept had done their job over the last 36years this survey would not be neccessary as there would have been people on the ground keeping up to date of conditions. Just an excercise to justify ZINARA’s existence. Tax fuel as it enters Zimbabwe, then everyone will pay in proportion to use; & do away with all this money wasting structures, staff, fiddles etc with the Toll system

  2. Even when the survey is done..then what? Hapana mari munyika yedu! Only recently there was talk of dualising the Harare Beitbridge road at an eye-watering cost of $2billions for a 25 year tenure to service the loan.That works out at $80million per year.Now,how is that going to happen when we cant even pay civil servants salaries on time?

  3. I hope first preference will be given to Kadoma -Choda road which has never seen a grader especially after Nembudzia. The road is just too bad. When driving along that road, one has to have at least 3 spare tyres if you want to return safely. God help us.

  4. We have prescribed the wrong solutions to what we thought could be the problem. Without a National Roads Conditions Survey, it is almost impossible to meaningfully make an impact on our roads. This is why where an intervention that could be a total rehabilitation of a section, you find someone carrying out pothole patching, which is unsustainable as resources are always directed to addressing a symptom than the real issue in the form of periodic maintenance.

    • Why now then boss? Why were the roads allowed to deteriorate to such an appalling state instead of invoking a program of routine maintenance? Looks like the boss man was asleep on the job from where I’m standing!

  5. Zimbabwe should privatise roads net work if ever they want to make any headway on this department..Roads are very crucial in a developing economy because they feed industries with raw materials.They can engage municipalities to develop the roads that join cities, e,g,Bulawayo City Council can develop the Byo-Harare highway from the City to Shangani.They can dualise that road for the next coming ten years.Then from Shangani to Gweru, the Gweru City Council can takeover that road up to Gweru City Centre.After the completion of these roads motorists should pay through toll gates to the road owners after which the government should take over the roads after a given period.

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